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Ebola Virus


Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a serious illness that is often fatal in humans. The Ebola virus was identified during an outbreak in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1976.   It is thought that African fruit bats are the natural host of the virus.  Ebola virus is initially transmitted to people through close contact with the bodily fluids of infected animals.  Once in humans it can spread very easily to others by direct contact with the bodily fluids of a living or deceased person who had Ebola, and through contaminated surfaces and objects. In 2014, the largest Ebola outbreakto date occurred in West Africa.  Nearly 30,000 people were infected and more than 11,000 died.

Early symptoms of Ebola include fever, severe headache, joint and muscle aches, chills, and weakness. Over time nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and hemorrhaging also occurs. The fatality rate in past outbreaks has ranged between 25%-90%.  There is no treatment for EVD, however, aggressive fluid management and good supportive care can decrease the fatality rate. An investigational injectable vaccine is currently available and is now being used in outbreak settings, but there is still no licensed vaccine.

Investigators at the CIR have partnered with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to evaluate an investigational vaccine for the Ebola virus.  The vaccine is given as a nasal spray and uses a weakened common cold virus to carry an Ebola surface protein.  Learn more about the study here.